Common Sense Vs. Science: Spector’s Fate Now in Jury Hands

spector-awaits-his-fate.jpgSpector trial bloody to the end as tough jury deliberations begin Monday

By Stacey Silberman for Hollywood Today

HOLLYWOOD, CA (RUSHPRNEWS) September 8, 2007 – There was no glove to fit as in the O.J. Simpson trial, but the jury “must acquit” according to sloganeering Phil Spector defense attorney Linda Kenney-Baden. She repeated it over an eight hours summation that included the word “science” a hundred times as if it were a mantra.  Read Hollywood Today

After five months of occasionally passionate, yet mostly mind-numbing technical testimony, the jury will finally have its say starting Monday when deliberations begin.

She implored jurors that “this case exemplifies reasonable doubt. I am turning it over to you to become investigators,” she said emphatically at the end of her lengthy closing argument.

After the rambling eight hours that focused on 71 examples of complicated testimony she insisted was unassailable scientific evidence, the Spector defense finally rested its case. For everyone involved it’s been long arduous testimony, photos, videos, evidence and debate as to whether 67-year old Phil Spector killed 40-year old Lana Clarkson.

As the trial nears its end it’s a toss-up as to what the nine-man, three-woman jury will find. Will they believe allegedly unbiased chauffeur Adriano De Souza, the prosecution’s eyewitness or the alleged lack of scientific evidence that proves Spector fired the weapon? Will the passionate pleas of the prosecution and their witnesses win over the contradictory science of the defense?

Next week will reveal a verdict that could honestly go either way, no matter what trial watchers believe. Both sides had scientific experts, both had theories that sounded plausible until the next one came along. On Monday, 12 men (and women) good and true will be instructed by Los Angeles Superior Court judge Larry Paul Fidler to decide if Spector is guilty of second degree murder. No lesser count allowed, just guilty or not guilty.

Here is a synopsis of what allegedly happened on the night of February 3, 2003, after Clarkson finishes work as new hostess at the House of Blues VIP room in Hollywood, CA.

Clarkson meets Spector inside VIP room and agrees to go home with Spector for a drink. Chauffeur DeSouza drives them to the Alhambra mansion. They go inside and a short time later Spector goes to the car for his valise. They presumably drink alcohol. An hour later, DeSouza hears a loud “pow” and walks to the back door. Moments later Spector staggers out the door and says, “I think I killed somebody” and DeSouza sees Spector with blood on his forefinger while holding the (.38 caliber) gun in his right hand. DeSouza looks inside, sees Lana slumped in a chair, runs away and calls 911.

In an attempt to cast doubt on eyewitness DeSouza, Baden claims that “he was simply mistaken,” because the Brazilian born chauffeur spoke questionable English. However, she said nothing about his ability to see the hand with the “smoking gun.”

Spector allegedly goes back in the house, wipes the gun, washes his hands and removes his jacket. He allegedly washes Lana’s face with a cloth diaper dipped in toilet water to clean up the mess and puts the gun in her hand before letting it drop to the ground below her left foot. Police later find the bloody diaper lying on the floor in the downstairs bathroom.

He brought the white jacket upstairs and left it there. While Spector allegedly does these things, he leaves blood evidence scattered around the house. Shortly after all this, paramedics arrive and touch the body, moving the head while checking for a pulse. Lana Clarkson was declared dead.

Baden argued that the paramedics, Alhambra Police, coroner and criminologists fouled-up the scene and spatter evidence. The prosecution theorizes that Spector disturbed the blood spatter and DNA evidence when he washed the gun and Lana’s face.

Baden said “science is the best, the most accurate and the only impartial witness.” She pointed out at the end of her closing argument “that there was no forensic evidence to prove that Spector pulled the trigger.” No gunshot residue, no DNA and the spatter evidence points to him being too far away to pull the trigger.

The scene was reportedly gruesome, caused by a gunshot wound to the mouth, severing her spine and shattering her beautiful face in a mess of blood, teeth and flesh.

During the prosecution’s final rebuttal, DA Patrick Dixon showed four animated scenarios to explain the lack of blood spatter on Spector’s white coat. Dixon also stated that a lack of gunshot residue does not mean that Spector did not fire the gun. It could have fallen off when he washed his hands or took off the white jacket upstairs.

Shortly after the shooting, police arrive to find Spector with his hands in his pockets, acting suspiciously and unwilling to cooperate, according to court testimony. Spector is arrested after a hostile interaction with police.

Defense lawyers have asserted from the beginning that Clarkson killed herself because she was a “desperately depressed, drug-addicted actress, who was ready to give it all up.” They brought in alleged friends of Clarkson, who testified that she was distressed over financial woes, relationship problems and her stale acting career. Close friend Bill Craig said on Court TV what director Michael Bay said in court, “suicide for Clarkson was implausible.”

The prosecution’s theory as to why this second-degree murder may have happened comes from the inference made from testimony by five women who claimed Spector had threatened them with a gun to the head when they tried to leave his premises. They inferred a consistent pattern of behavior by Spector, according to Jackson.

In the end, DA Dixon had the last word, adding ammunition to DA Alan Jackson’s clear, concise and emotional closing argument. The defense was convincing at times also, but one has to ask whether the jury listened to all of the endless scientifically based testimony paid for by “a checkbook defense.” Baden was sometimes monotonous in her recitation style, but may have created enough reasonable doubt to win the case or end with a hung jury. Or perhaps the prosecution’s strong extended rebuttal refuted enough of defense’s “strong points.”

Now it’s the jury’s time to cast its deciding vote.

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